I didn’t expect my Sunday morning tweet to be controversial:

“So, should I visit a new church or take my Bible and a notebook to Daniel’s Park?”

The responses I received included everything from concern (“What’s wrong?”) to scriptural exhortations to go to church, the most common of which was Hebrews 10:25.

This upset me. Probably more than it should have. Especially since I’ve used that very scripture to rebuke church-skippers in the past. Shame on me. Hear me loud and clear: I’m FOR community, and I have been deeply connected with a local church my entire life. Here’s some head-spinning math, in case you’re not convinced:

Take my 37 years times 52 weeks a year and you get 1,924 Sunday church services since my birth, give or take. Add in Sunday night church, Wednesday youth group, special potlucks, socials, Tuesday night Bible studies, Wednesday night small groups, church camps, women’s retreats, leadership conferences, full-time ministry for about 7 years, followed by lay ministry that sucked up more hours a week than the paid job ever did …

You get the idea. Let’s say we triple that number and it still won’t be a stretch. NOW, ask me how many Sundays I felt the freedom to embrace solitude with my Maker in a park??? ZERO.

Why, oh why did the thought of me sitting in a park one Sunday of thousands create tension? Is this what God intended with Hebrews 10:25? Is the authenticity of my relationship with God verified by a perfect attendance scorecard? If for one week I decide to skip community in a building for communion with Him in the mountains, am I on a slippery slope of spiritual decline?

This entire line of thought scares me, AND I’m embarrassed at my past judgments of others.

What do you think?

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